Spring time at Coon Hollow Farm

Spring time at Coon Hollow Farm
Our Olde English "Babydoll" Sheep and their lambs

Monday, October 20, 2014

It's the naked truth!

It's that time of year again, that time when there is nothing but nakedness in the chicken coop! Feathers here and there, feathers everywhere!

And with all that nakedness, less eggs! They stop laying and put all their energy into growing more feathers. We usually get quite a few eggs with 2 hens, today, just 4 ! Hopefully they will get their feathers in quickly as the cold set in!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Welcome Pepper!

Welcome Pepper who has come to stay with us during breeding season! He's a handsome fellow with a nice dispostion. He fell asleep in the truck on the way here. It was not a long ride but He made us laugh how he took the opportunity to relax and take a nap!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Honey Harvest season comes to a close

With smoker in hand, I set out to collect the remainder of the honey. The girls were slow to cap it, I have been really busy and the weather has not wanted to cooperate when I did have time.

The honey was beautifully capped...

In some areas they really got out of control with the capping!

The supers were pulled off the remainder of the hives...

Queen excluders were removed which they managed to propolis almost to the point it was hard to pull off!

Each hive has two Hive bodies on them, plenty of honey stores, brood with healthy queens as well!

So I will be busy for the next few days, spinning down, straining and bottling lots of golden delicious honey!!!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Acorns, Acorns, Acorns

How about a handful of Acorns? Or...

a bowl full of Acorns? These are fun to make and made from wool and alpaca. The past few fairs I have done have these on high demand, so I have been felting away!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Fall Inspired Gourds

I was looking at some fall photos the other day and became inspired by the pictures of the gourds.I pulled out the felting board and got to work.

I was showing Tim one of them and he was not impressed because he thought it was a real gourd, he was surprised when I told him the were made from scraps of wool and alpaca! They will be available at our next shows coming up. Just some fall inspired fun!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Angora Wool Goodness!

Tawny (shown) and Mr Fluffer have been more than generous with their wool. The summer requires shearing every 6 weeks so they can stay cool and be tolerant of the warm weather.

We have close to a pound just from Tawny who is not even a year old!

So, with all we had I decided to wash it and set it to dry. It is currently drying and will be mixed into some batts for spinning. I absolutely love their wool and find it the softest fiber on the planet!!!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Nothing says fall like Mulling Spices! Yum!

As I prepare for fair season, I am trying to add new and different things to my table! I was going through some bags and came across some great mini bale jars. I had some spices, I dried up some orange peels, crushed some nutmeg, broke down some cinnamon sticks, added some allspice and cloves, instant mulling spices!!!

I bottled them up, added a muslin bag and a tag. Needless to say they would make a great gift and my house smells amazing too!

Friday, September 12, 2014

It's Fair Season!!!

This fall we will not be hosting any Open Houses, instead we will be off to do some fairs! We are changing it up as my skills move towards primitive and colonial interest. Starting this weekend we will be at:
**The Woodbury Historical Society's Annual Colonial Fair, at the Hurd House in scenic Woodbury, CT on September 14 for noon to 5
**Stratford Historical Society's Colonial Fair to mark their 375th anniversary in historic Straftord, CT on September 20 and 21, both days, 9 to 5, all day.
**McLaughlin Vineyard in Sandy Hook, Ct. from 12 to 5 on September 27.
**Meigs Point Nature Center's Farm Festival, Farm, Fishing and History Fair, Boston Post Road, Madison, CT on October 4 & 5 from 9 to 5 both days.
We are looking forward to meeting new people and enjoying fall via the fair way!!!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The girls deliver!!!

As beekeeping season is winding down, the harvest is on! The girls have delivered in a big way this year! We have comb honey as well as honey!

Capped and ready to go to the fairs! A bounty indeed! Thanks girls!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Super Healer-Jewelweed Salve

This is Jewelweed, that weed that pops up all over the yard this time of year. Nature has provided this plant as one of the most amazing healing plant. It is amazing for poison ivy, bee stings and other types of ailments. I have been staring and staring at it all summer. The honeybees have been all over it, so as the nectar source and the flowers are dropping off I decided it was time to make a salve.

I gathered a generous amount throughout our property. I figured it should be collected in different areas to assure a strong tincture.

It was boiled and allowed to sit overnight to allow the healing properties to be extracted from the plants. Then strained to a dark green extract.

Our own beesax from our bees was added to the extract

Here is a great picture of our beeswax from our "girls". It is just amazing!

Jewelweed extract is a bit strong so I choose to add some essential oils of Orange, Lavender and Tea Tree as ell as Vitamin E to act as a preservative. I looked up a couple of recipes for this salve but choose to combine a few to make the way it should be.

After being poured into tins and allowed to cool, it is ready to begin healing!!!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

How do you beard when it's hot???

This morning I went up to feed the chickens and noticed the hives were "bearding" due to the heat. This was Kisha's hives idea of a "beard", they are clustered and cooling off.

Hive #1 was the funniest, as I looked at this one I thought they were all saying "don't touch me"! These girls are spread out it seems like quite a few of them are out.

Hive #3 are out but clustered with many bees trying to cool off too!

and Hive #4, which is our biggest hive seem to have less bees out trying to cool but their beard seems to have bees on top of each other. It is muggy and hot here in Connecticut with showers expected today. These girls need to get their umbrella ready!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Our new farm sign!

Special thanks to our friend Jim who made and gifted a new sign for the farm! It was hung up some time ago and I just got around to posting this!

Friday, August 29, 2014

It's all in the feeders!

I truly believe a teacher can always learn from a student, your mind should always be open to everything. This is true for me as well, this year I have had the pleasure of mentoring Kisha who I have mentioned. She actually turned me on and gifted me with one of these amazing top feeders.

They actually have a floating system that disallows bees to drown in them. I have always shied away from top feeders for this very reason. This system is sold by Brushy Mountain Bee and is amazing!

A close up of just how safe these really are!

They fit snuggly on top and have space in the center for them to come up through to get the sugar water safely. We then place the screen top over it. This also allows for refilling with out the bees being able to react.

This is a picture of the first one that Kisha gifted me with, notice the center opening, that is where the bees come up through. These feeders have made a tremendous difference in the management and the success of our bees this year!!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Honeybees...The honeybees

The honeybees are underway! Busy to and fro, flying in, flying out. Visiting all the wild flowers. Neighbors are reporting seeing them at their flowers.

This weekend we did mite treatments on the girls. We use organic means to treat the "girls". In this case powdered sugar! The bees looked like little ghost. The powdered sugar coats the bees. The varroa mites have suction cup like feet and when they go to move they slip off and fall to their deaths.

Honey and beeswax were also harvested. The beeswax will be put outside to allow the girls to pick it clean. It is by far the best way to clean it up!

Frames were put into the extractor and we got quite a few pounds! The big harvest will be in a few weeks. They haven't quite capped it all yet. These girls are keeping me busy busy!!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Using the time proven Hand Carder

These are Hand Carders, a tool that was used in the Colonial times and probably even earlier to brush wool and fibers to prepare for spinning into yarn. These Tim bought me some time ago and carved our farm name into them.

Here I am using some lavender dyed suri alpaca locks from our boy, Garth. Laying the fiber length wise across the teeth of the comb.

Here is a closer look at the teeth of the comb.

Of course I was taking the pictures so both my hands aren't in place. Turning the combs in the opposite direction, holding one up and one down, begin to comb the fiber until the strands are all aligned in the same direction.

Brush and brush and brush...

and brush and brush and brush...

until the fibers are aligned like little soldiers! Now placing your carders together like little book ends with some of the fibers running off...

bring the carders together and begin to brush one in the upward direction.

until all the fibers are transferred off onto one carder...

taking both your fingers like little scissors on each side, begin to roll the fiber back and off the carder until...

you have your rolag, or as we call it at the historical home, "A wooly caterpillar"!

And here you are, a rolag ready to be spun. I am actually going to use this for and over casting onto some wool I have spun to give a brushy look and texture. Nothing like time proven tools that our fore mothers used!